NFHS to consider instant replay, play clock rules in football

January 10, 2018 / Athletic AdministrationFootball
The National Federation of State High School Association’s Football Rules Committee meets in less than two weeks, and among the considerations will be adding a play clock and the use of instant replay.

Bob Colgate, the NFHS director of sports and sports medicine, said at this month’s American Football Coaches Association convention that the committee will consider 47 proposals during its three-day meeting, beginning Jan. 19 in Indianapolis.

Two of the most anticipated considerations are the use of instant replay and the addition of a 40-second play clock. Colgate said the latter was rejected last year by a single vote.

Colorado, Michigan and Indiana in 2016 began using a 40-second play clock as part of a three-year experimental program. Texas, which follows NCAA rules, has been using it since 2014.

Few schools have had the opportunity to use instant replay, which would likely be more complicated than implementing a standardized play clock. In 2016, the Alabama High School Athletic Association partnered with Hudl to experiment with instant replay during two spring football games. State officials planned to analyze the results and gather feedback from coaches.

Instant replay could be a hefty expense for schools, especially for those that already struggle to adequately fund their programs.

In 2016, Coach & Athletic Director polled coaches and athletic administrators, asking whether instant replay should be used in high school sports. More than 80 percent said “no.”

“There are enough controversial calls that cause fans and coaches to behave inappropriately, without adding overturned calls and delays for fans to get more excitable,” said one reader. “Referees live in the community, they work, and some fans and coaches have difficulty drawing the line that allows for safety and security for all, as it is now with no replays.”

During the AFCA convention, Colgate mentioned two more rules that would be reviewed: Allowing quarterbacks to throw away the ball outside of the pocket, and making all face-mask penalties 15 yards.

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